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2019 Juniper Literary Festival

Introducing audiences to the vibrant landscape of new poetry and fiction and exploring issues essential to the future of literature, the Juniper Literary Festival features readings with internationally known writers and UMass MFA alumni as well as programming from current students who have invigorated the event with performative readings, inventively curated displays, and publications of their work. The festival will also include the regional and national literary community through its renowned literary arts fair. The 2019 Juniper Literary Festival will be held April 12-13, 2019 on the UMass Amherst campus. All readings and panel discussions, as well as the literary arts fair, are free and open to the public.

Schedule of Events

Friday, April 12

7:00 pm - READING: Horacio Castellanos Moya, Old Chapel

8:00 pm - RECEPTION, Old Chapel

8:30 pm - LIVE LIT: MFA Student Reading with Stevie Belchak and Emmalie Dropkin, Old Chapel


Saturday, April 13

Panels & Readings

10:00am-4:00pm VISUALIZING LANGUAGE GALLERY, South College W360

10:00am-11:15am - WELCOME EVENT FOR ACCEPTED MFA WRITERS, South College E470

10:00am-11:00am - FROM FANTASY TO SOCIAL JUSTICE: WRITING FOR YOUNGER AUDIENCES: Mira Bartók and Arisa White, moderated by Tiphareth Ananda, South College W245

11:00am-12:00pm - ON WRITING MEMOIR: A CONVERSATION WITH CONTRIBUTORS TO STRANGE ATTRACTORS: LIVES CHANGED BY CHANCE with Donna Ford, Noy Holland, Debra Jo Immergut, and Edie Meidav, South College W245


1:00pm-2:00pm - FIVE COLLEGE WRITERS: A READING BY FACULTY WRITERS FROM ACROSS THE VALLEY: Samuel Ace (Mount Holyoke), Polina Barskova (Hampshire), Arda Collins (Smith), Noy Holland (UMass Amherst) and Shayla Lawson (Amherst), Old Chapel

2:30pm-3:30pm - EDITORS & PUBLISHERS PANEL: Zach Savich (Rescue Press), Katie Raissian (Grove/Atlantic), and Matvei Yankelevich (Ugly Duckling Presse), moderated by Sabina Murray, Old Chapel

4:00pm - READING BY UMASS MFA ALUMNI: Hannah Brooks-Motl, Andrea Lawlor, Arisa White & Jung Yun, Old Chapel

5:30pm - RECEPTION, Old Chapel

7:00pm - READING: Danez Smith, Old Chapel

Additional event details to come. Check back soon!

Literary Arts Fair & Pop-Up Readings

10:00am-4:00pm - LITERARY ARTS FAIR, South College Commons E240

10:00am Ell Davis, David Greenspan & Mike Medeiros - Hosted by Animal Club

10:30am Shey Rivera Rios - Hosted by Anomalous Press

11:00am Carolyn Zaikowski & Tessa Menatian - Hosted by The But Also

11:30am Catherine Stearns, Anna M. Warrock & Richard Wollman - Hosted by Slate Roof Press

12:00pm Paul Olchváry - Hosted by New Europe Books

12:30pm Mona Awad & Ken Calhoun - Hosted by St. Petersburg Review & Springhouse Journal

1:00pm Dead Bird Reading Series 1:30PM Emilie Menzel, Mary Scraggs & Rebecca Valley - Hosted by Animal Club

2:00pm Polina Barskova & Michael Kasper - Hosted by Ugly Duckling Presse

2:30pm Caitlin OʼNeill & Laura Willwerth - Hosted by The Massachusetts Review

3:00pm Darcie Dennigan, Pamela Ryder, Joseph Cardinale & Ryan MacDonald - Hosted by FC2

Readers subject to change.

Presenters & Exhibitors


Journal & Book Fair Exhibitors

  • Anomalous Press
  • Audio Archive
  • Cosmonauts Avenue
  • Emily Dickinson Museum
  • Factory Hollow Press
  • FC2 
  • Fence
  • Fiction Advocate
  • jubilat
  • Juniper Summer Writing Institute
  • Levellers Press
  • Massachusetts Review
  • Meridians: feminism, race, transnationalism
  • Mount Analogue
  • New Europe Books
  • Orion Magazine
  • Paperbark Literary Magazine
  • Rescue Press
  • Slate Roof Press
  • Slope Editions
  • Small Beer Press
  • The Song Cave
  • St. Petersburg Review Springhouse Journal
  • Straw Dog Writers Guild
  • The But Also
  • The Common
  • Ugly Duckling Presse
  • University of Massachusetts Press
  • Wave Books

About Presenters

Samuel AceSamuel Ace is a trans and genderqueer poet and sound artist. The recipient of the Astraea Lesbian Writers Fund Award in Poetry and the Firecracker Alternative Book Award, he has published several collections of poems, including Stealth, a collaborative work written with Maureen Seaton, and two forthcoming volumes, Our Weather O­ur Sea (Black Radish Books, 2019) and Meet Me There: Normal Sex & Home in three days. Don't wash. (Belladonna Germinal Texts, 2019). His work has been widely anthologized, including in Troubling the Line: Genderqueer Poetry and Poetics and Best American Experimental Poetry; and has appeared in or is forthcoming from Poetry, The Atlas Review, Fence, Posit, and Viny Poetryl,among many other publications. He teaches poetry and creative writing at Mount Holyoke College.

Tiphareth AnandaTiphareth Ananda is an elementary educator in Northampton, MA. Beyond working with elementary age students at Campus School, Tiphareth supports Smith’s Education and Child Studies Department by mentoring student teachers, participating in teacher research projects, and serving as a guest lecturer in various education related courses. Teaching with picture books is a long time passion, and reading graphic novels is a new found joy.

Polina BarskovaPolina Barskova was born in then Leningrad in 1976. She published her first book of poetry, Christmas, in 1991, -- last year her tenth book of poetry, A Sunny Morning in the Square, has been published in Saint Petersburg. Barskova left Russia at the age of twenty to pursue a PhD in Russian Studies at UC Berkeley, having already earned a graduate degree in Classics and become an accomplished poet in her homeland. Three books of Barskova's poetry were translated into English: This Lamentable City (Tupelo Press, 2010), The Zoo in Winter: Selected Poems (Melville House, 2011), and Relocations (Zephyr Press, 2015). As a professor of Russian literature at Hampshire College, Barskova began an archival project that resulted in Written in the Dark: Five Poets in the Siege of Leningrad (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2016), an anthology of work written during the siege that remained unknown for decades. Now Barskova lives in Amherst (MA) with her daughter Frosia. At the end of 2015 Barskova received Andrey Bely Prize for her book of prose Living Pictures, her play with the same title is staged in Moscow Theatre of Nations.

Mira BartokMira Bartók is the author of The Memory Palace, a New York Times bestselling memoir and winner of the 2011 National Book Critics Circle Award for autobiography. She has also written and illustrated over 30 books for children, including The Wonderling, the first in a middle grade fantasy series, published by Candlewick Press. A major motion picture of The Wonderling, directed by Stephen Daldry (The Crown, Billie Elliot, The Reader), is currently in development. Mira is also a spokesperson for TransCultural Exchange, an international arts organization that seeks to foster greater understanding between world cultures through artistic collaboration.

Hannah Brooks-MotlHannah Brooks-Motl is the author of the poetry collections The New Years (Rescue Press, 2014), M (Song Cave, 2015), and EARTH (Song Cave, 2019). Her poetry and criticism have appeared in the Best American Experimental Writing, the Cambridge Literary Review, Modernism/modernity, and in edited collections, among other places. She earned an MFA from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and is currently finishing a PhD at the University of Chicago, where she is the poetry editor of Chicago Review.

Arda CollinsArda Collins is the author of a collection of poems, It Is Daylight, which was awarded the Yale Series of Younger Poets Prize selected by Louise Gluck. Her poems have been published in The New Yorker, American Poetry Review, A Public Space, Colorado Review and elsewhere. She is a recipient of the Sarton Award for Poetry from the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and fellowships from Yaddo and the Bread Loaf Writers Conference, and holds a Ph.D. from the University of Denver. At Smith, she has served as the Grace Hazard Conkling Writer-in-Residence and teaches poetry and creative writing. She is Special Issues Editor of jubilat and lives in Amherst with her family.

Donna FordDonna Ford cannot remember a time when she was not telling stories. Long before she had the opportunity to work with William Gaddis as an undergraduate, she made up bedtime stories for her beloved Grandpop. For her, narrative is the thing that solidifies experience, feeling and the self. A writer of short stories, she is currently at work on a novel. Her work in Strange Attractors has piqued her interest in creative non-fiction and now she is pondering a memoir based on her love of horror movies. Donna received a Ph.D from The Graduate Center at CUNY and currently teaches literature and American Studies at Bard College.

Noy HollandNoy Holland is the recipient of the 2018 Katherine Anne Porter Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Her short story “Tally” was included in Best American Short Stories, and read by Suzzy Roche at Symphony Space in New York City. Her books include I Was Trying to Describe What It Feels Like, New and Selected Stories; the novel Bird; and three collections of short fiction and novellas-- Swim for the Little One First, What Begins with Bird, and The Spectacle of the Body. She has published fiction and essays in The Kenyon Review, Epoch, Antioch, Conjunctions, The Quarterly, Glimmer Train, Electric Literature, Publisher’s Weekly, The Believer, NOON, and New York Tyrant, among others. She has taught since 1997 in the MFA for Poets and Writers at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

Debra Jo ImmergutDebra Jo Immergut is the author of The Captives, published by Ecco/HarperCollins (2018) and in over a dozen other countries, which has been nominated for an 2019 Edgar Award for Best First Novel. She has a second novel forthcoming from Ecco and is also the author of a short-story collection, Private Property. She is a MacDowell and Michener fellow and has an MFA from the Iowa Writer’s Workshop.

Andrea LawlorAndrea Lawlor teaches writing at Mount Holyoke College, edits fiction for Fence magazine, and has been awarded fellowships by Lambda Literary and Radar Labs. Their writing has appeared in various literary journals including Ploughshares, Mutha, the Millions, jubilat, the Brooklyn Rail, Faggot Dinosaur, and Encyclopedia, Vol. II. Their publications include a chapbook, Position Papers (Factory Hollow Press, 2016), and a novel, Paul Takes the Form of a Mortal Girl, a 2018 finalist for the Lambda Literary and CLMP Firecracker Awards. Paul, originally published by Rescue Press in 2017, will be reprinted in the US by Vintage/Knopf and published in the British Commonwealth by Picador UK in April 2019.

Shayla LawsonShayla Lawson is the author of three books of poetry—A Speed Education in Human Being, the chapbook PANTONE and I Think I'm Ready to See Frank Ocean—and the forthcoming essay collection MAJOR: Notes on Diana Ross, Dark Girls, & Being Dope {AF} (Harper Perennial, 2020).  Her work has appeared in print & online at Tin House, GRAMMA, ESPN, Salon, The Offing, Guernica, Colorado Review. She also co-curates on The Tenderness Project with poet Ross Gay and is a member of the Affrilachian Poets. Her work has been supported by the MacDowell Colony, Yaddo Artist Colony, The Cini Foundation and her Havanese, Sammy Davis Jr. Jr.

Horacio Castellanos MoyaHoracio Castellanos Moya is a writer and a journalist from El Salvador. He has published twelve novels, five short story collections, two essay books, and a diary. His novels have been translated into thirteen languages; six of them (Senselessness, The She-Devil in the mirror, Dance with Snakes, Tyrant memory, Revulsion and The Dream of My Return) are available in English. He was granted residencies in a program supported by the Frankfurt International Book Fair (2004-2006) and in the City of Asylum program in Pittsburgh (2006-2008). In 2009, he was guest researcher at the University of Tokyo with a fellowship granted by the Japan Foundation. The Government of Chile awarded him the Manuel Rojas Iberoamerican Prize for Fiction 2014, for his body of work. As a journalist, he was editor of news agencies, magazines and newspapers in Mexico, Guatemala and his own country for two decades. Currently he is associate professor in the Spanish Creative Writing MFA at the University of Iowa.

Katie RaissianKatie Raissian is an editor at Grove Atlantic, where she edits literary fiction and non-fiction. Among the authors she has worked with are Colin Barrett, Anna Noyes, Megan Hunter, Candace Bushnell, Lauren Acampora, Madhuri Vijay, and Isabella Hammad. She is also editor and publisher of Stonecutter, a print magazine of art and literature  which focuses on publishing international writers and artists alongside US-based ones. Stonecutter has featured work by John Ashbery, Cathy Linh Che, Mark O'Connell, Renee Gladman, Ricardo Piglia, Nicole Sealey, Karl Ove Knausgaard, Lydia  Kiesling, and Sally Rooney, to name but a few. Now residing in Queens, Katie is originally from Cork, Ireland.

Zach Savich

Zach Savich is the author of six books of poetry, including Daybed (Black Ocean, 2018) and The Orchard Green and Every Color (Omnidawn, 2016). His memoir about cancer, teaching, and poetic friendship, Diving Makes the Water Deep (Rescue, 2016), was a finalist for the CLMP Firecracker Award and the Housatonic Book Prize. His writing has appeared in journals and anthologies including American Poetry Review, Best New Poets, Boston Review, Kenyon Review, VOLT, and elsewhere; he has received the Iowa Poetry Prize, the Colorado Prize for Poetry, the CSU Poetry Center's Open Award, a fellowship from the Vermont Studio Center, and other honors. Savich directs the BFA Program in Creative Writing at the University of the Arts, in Philadelphia, and co-edits Rescue Press's Open Prose Series.

Danez SmithDanez Smith is a Black, Queer, Poz writer & performer from St. Paul, MN. Danez is the author of Don’t Call Us Dead (Graywolf Press, 2017), winner of the Forward Prize for Best Collection, the Midwest Booksellers Choice Award, and a finalist for the National Book Award; they also wrote [insert] boy (YesYes Books, 2014), winner of the Kate Tufts Discovery Award and the Lambda Literary Award for Gay Poetry. They are the recipient of fellowships from the Poetry Foundation, the McKnight Foundation, the Montalvo Arts Center, Cave Canem, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Danez's work has been featured widely, appearing on platforms such as Buzzfeed, The New York Times, PBS NewsHour, Best American Poetry, Poetry Magazine, and on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert. Danez is a member of the Dark Noise Collective and is the co-host of VS with Franny Choi, a podcast sponsored by the Poetry Foundation and Postloudness. Danez’s third collection, “Homie”, will be published by Graywolf in Spring 2020.  

Arisa WhiteCave Canem graduate fellow Arisa White received her MFA from UMass, Amherst, and is the author of Perfect on Accident, You’re the Most Beautiful Thing That Happened, Black Pearl, Post Pardon, A Penny Saved, and Hurrah's Nest. Her poetry has been nominated for a Lambda Literary Award, NAACP Image Award, California Book Award, and Wheatley Book Award. The chapbook “Fishing Walking” & Other Bedtime Stories for My Wife won Daniel Handler’s inaugural Per Diem Poetry Prize. She's the co-author of Biddy Mason Speaks Up, the second book in the Fighting for Justice series for young readers. Arisa serves on the board of directors for Nomadic Press and is an assistant professor of poetry at Colby College.

Matvei Yankelevich Matvei Yankelevich is one of the founding editors of Ugly Duckling Presse, a nonprofit publisher of poetry, translation, performance texts, and books by artist, based in Brooklyn. He currently serves as Managing Editor at UDP and has edited and published more than 40 titles in the Eastern European Poets Series, which he curates, and was a co-editor of 6x6 magazine (2000-2017). His own books include Some Worlds for Dr. Vogt (Black Square), Alpha Donut (United Artists), and Boris by the Sea (Octopus) and several translations: Today I Wrote Nothing: The Selected Writings of Daniil Kharms (Ardis/Overlook), and (with Eugene Ostashevsky) Alexander Vvedensky's An Invitation for Me to Think (NYRB Poets), which received a National Translation Award. He has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York Foundation for the Arts. He teaches translation and book arts at Columbia University's School of the Arts and is a member of the Writing Faculty at the Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts at Bard College.

Jung YunJung Yun is the author of Shelter, which was long-listed for the Center for Fiction’s First Novel Prize and a finalist for the Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers Award. Her work has appeared in Tin House, The Massachusetts Review, The Indiana Review, and The Atlantic, among others. She has received an honorable mention for the Pushcart Prize and residencies from the MacDowell Colony, Ucross Foundation, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and the National Humanities Center. Currently, she is an assistant professor of English at the George Washington University.


Inaugurated in 2001 as the BigSmallPressFest, the Juniper Literary Festival showcases exciting new writing and explores issues vital to the literary arts, helping to ensure their vitality, plurality, and accessibility.

The Juniper Festival is produced by the University of Massachusetts Amherst MFA for Poets and Writers and the Juniper Initiative for Literary Arts and Action. The Festival is also supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, the UMass College for Humanities and Fine Arts; English Department; Arts Council; Stonewall Center; Program in Comparative Literature; Department of Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies; Department of Spanish and Portuguese; Translation Center; Center for Latin American, Caribbean and Latino Studies; School of Journalism; and the Vice Chancellor for Research and Engagement, as well as the Amherst College Queer Resource Center, English Department, and Center for Creative Writing, the Five College Consortium, The Massachusetts Review, Factory Hollow Press, jubilat, the Juniper Summer Writing Institute, and our generous alumni.

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